Science aims to answer questions and make sense of the physical, living, and digital world. Science calls on students to use their curiosity, creativity and perseverance to develop a deeper knowledge and understanding of the natural world. It includes the study of physics, chemistry, biology, Earth science, astronomy and computer science.
Through science, students develop critical thinking, problem solving, confidence and communication skills to make sense of complex information. They gain knowledge and skills by applying scientific methods. Exploring the environment through diverse perspectives and traditional knowledge allows students to connect with their surroundings and recognize the responsibility we share for our planet.
Studying science equips students to evaluate information they encounter every day and make evidence informed decisions. It can lead to careers in research, medicine, computer science, geology, engineering, astronomy, agriculture and more.
What is new: March 2023
The new K to 6 science curriculum is ready to move into classrooms, starting with K to 3 in September 2023. School authorities may choose to implement grades 4 to 6 in September 2023 or wait until September 2024. Review the information below to see:
- how draft content becomes new curriculum
- a comparison between current and new curriculum
- a snapshot by grade of what students will learn in the new curriculum
From draft to new curriculum: Content update summary
What we heard about the draft K to 6 curriculum
We listened to all feedback from classroom piloting and engagement activities and heard these common concerns across all draft K to grade 6 subjects:
- some content is too heavy within a subject, grade or learning outcome
- some knowledge, understandings, and skills/procedures need to be better aligned with students’ developmental level in a specific grade
- more pre-requisite learning is needed to support the knowledge, understandings and skills/procedures
- Wording clarity
- clearer expectations and verb choice are needed in some content for students to achieve learning outcomes
- clearer descriptions are needed for some knowledge, understandings or skills/procedures
- First Nations, Métis and Inuit content
- additional content is needed to support First Nations, Métis and Inuit perspectives
- some content needs to represent First Nations, Métis and Inuit perspectives and contributions more authentically
Feedback on science
The feedback on the draft K to 6 science curriculum from March 2021 offered suggestions related to neutral language, integrating scientific methods and hands-on activities, digital literacy and ethics.
We heard the content needed updates to:
- ensure language is neutral, while emphasizing connections to nature and allowing for a variety of perspectives
- integrate scientific methods more effectively into all content
- increase opportunities for creativity, hands-on activities and investigation
- increase emphasis on digital literacy and ethics
Feedback from classroom piloting in the 2022-23 school year suggested updates to provide:
- opportunities for hands-on activities and providing more examples
- content on agricultural practices in Alberta
What we updated
In May 2022, we updated the draft K to 6 science curriculum from March 2021 to reflect the engagement and piloting feedback we heard. We also aligned the updated draft with top-performing jurisdictions, both within Canada and internationally, as well as those with knowledge-rich curriculums.
In March 2023, we finalized new K to 6 science curriculum by updating the draft curriculum from May 2022 to reflect feedback from all engagement activities and classroom piloting.
Since first releasing the draft K to 6 science curriculum in March 2021, we made the following content updates:
- Load: Refined examples, removed redundancies, and redistributed content while considering age-appropriateness.
- Age-appropriateness: Reworded content, added definitions, examples, or details to develop foundational knowledge, and shifted content into grades 7 to 12.
- Wording clarity: Analyzed and aligned verbs to Bloom’s Taxonomy to ensure higher-level verbs are used in all K to 6 grades, and/or edited for cohesiveness and clear language use.
- First Nations, Métis and Inuit content: Made updates based on feedback from stakeholder groups and jurisdictional scans.
- Neutral language: Revised and added content to reflect a variety of perspectives and ensured shared responsibility for environmental stewardship and sustainability is more evident, while emphasizing connections to nature.
- Scientific methods and hands-on activities: Revised and added content across all K to 6 grades to integrate scientific methods and increase opportunities for active learning and creativity.
- Digital literacy and ethics: Revised and added content to ensure digital literacy and ethics are more evident.
Current and new curriculum comparison
The following list shows how elements in the current K to 6 science curriculum, published in 1996, compare to the new curriculum. The comparisons provide examples and do not represent all the changes that were made.
|Current curriculum (1996) examples||New curriculum (March 2023) examples|
|Specific units and topics||Content is organized by units and topics that limit connections between scientific ideas, methods and thinking.||Students build foundational knowledge across K to 6 to deepen their understanding of scientific ideas, methods and thinking.|
|Computational thinking||There are no references to problem solving with coding.||There are clear expectations for students to learn problem solving techniques that include coding and algorithms.|
|Science components/scientific methods||Students learn to apply science inquiry skills at each grade but do not study scientific methods in a separate unit.||Content related to investigation, objectivity, evidence, representation, ethics, and explanation is included in the scientific methods organizing idea, guiding questions, and learning outcomes across all grades.|
|Diverse perspectives||There are no references to diverse perspectives. |
There are no references to First Nations, Métis and Inuit perspectives
|There are opportunities for students to explore diverse perspectives and cultures. |
First Nations, Métis and Inuit knowledge, practices and perspectives are clearly and respectfully included.
Snapshot by grade
In the new K to 6 science curriculum, students will learn about matter, energy, Earth systems, living systems, space, computer science and scientific methods.
- Explore properties using the 5 senses
- Examine movement of objects, humans and other animals
- Examine components of environments
- Protect the environment by reducing waste, recycling and reusing
- Explore the purpose of instructions
- Analyze measurable properties of objects and physical changes
- Investigate characteristics of movement
- Analyze seasonal changes and their effects on plants and animals
- Investigate plants and animals and the relationships among them
- Order and follow instructions
- Describe the steps of an investigation and make predictions, observations and conclusions
- Examine properties, types, and selection of materials based on suitability, availability and sustainability
- Investigate the sources and behaviours of light and sound
- Examine Earth’s landforms, bodies of water and relationship to the Sun
- Investigate the growth and development of plants and animals and explore their relationships to humans
- Apply creativity to design precise, reliable and efficient instructions
- Describe purposes and procedures of investigations in science
- Investigate how substances can change, including water and the water cycle
- Conduct investigations to determine the effects of contact forces on objects, including simple machines
- Analyze changes to Earth’s surface caused by natural events and the activities of plants, humans and other animals, including growing crops and farming
- Examine how layers of Earth’s surface, including the discovery and location of dinosaur fossils, hold information about the past
- Discuss First Nations, Métis and Inuit relationships with and intergenerational knowledge of land and Earth’s surface
- Analyze interactions between plants, humans, other animals and the environment
- Investigate creativity and its relationship to computational and divergent thinking
- Relate sources, accuracy and analysis of data to building scientific knowledge
- Investigate the management of waste materials and describe environmental impacts
- Investigate the non-contact forces of gravity and magnetism
- Analyze the interconnections between Earth’s systems (land, air, water and organisms) and explore conservation activities
- Relate the external structures and sensory organs of organisms to their functions
- Investigate how objects in space are connected to daily life
- Examine design processes and their application in solving problems
- Investigate the role of data and evidence in science
- Relate the particle model of matter to the states of matter
- Investigate forces in water and air, including buoyant force, lift and drag
- Examine renewable and non-renewable energy resources
- Analyze the relationships among climate, weather and agricultural practices
- Investigate the functions of internal biological systems of organisms
- Interpret observable processes among stars, planets, the Sun and the Moon in relation to daily living
- Apply the design process in creating computational artifacts, including code
- Examine controlled experiments, including consideration of evidence, bias and ethics
- Relate the heating and cooling of particles to the behaviour of matter, including expansion and contraction
- Analyze internal and external forces and their effects on objects
- Examine scientific, environmental and economic considerations relating to energy management
- Investigate factors affecting climate and climate change, including personal actions
- Investigate the characteristics, components and biodiversity of ecosystems
- Investigate celestial bodies and technologies used for exploration in the solar system
- Examine abstractions, coding structures and the impact of computers and technology
- Describe the role of explanation and hypothesis in science
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